February 26, 2016: The Cure for Hostility
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you (v. 27).
I remember a Mother Goose rhyme from my childhood:
I do not like thee, Dr. Fell. The reason why I cannot tell. But this I know, and know full well: I do not like thee, Dr. Fell.
That’s hostility. Hostility is the settled state of being enemies. Anger, appropriately expressed and properly handled, can be a sign of good mental health. But there is no health in hostility. Hostility ruins our mental health. I once heard of a psychologist whose first question to every new patient was: “Who is wrong with you?”
Can hostility be cured? Not if we cover it up and pretend it doesn’t exist. Jesus didn’t say, “Pretend you have no enemies.” He said, “Love your enemies.” And how do we do that? “Do good to those who hate you,” said Jesus. Try doing something good for your enemy, and see if you can still feel hostile toward him. “Bless those who curse you,” said Jesus. Find something in your enemy that you can honestly praise, and then see if you can still feel hostile.
“Pray for those who abuse you,” said Jesus. Pray, not once, but persistently. It is not easy to remain hostile toward someone for whom you pray on a daily basis.
Prayer: Help me to love my enemies.
Today’s devotional was written by Lou Lotz, the pastoral leader of Central Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This Lenten series comes from Words of Hope, whose mission is to build the church in the hard places through media. To learn more about the organization or subscribe to Words of Hope’s daily devotions, visitwww.woh.org.